It was the second proper meeting of the SSCF (Safer Stronger Communities Fund) board on Thursday evening. Things are starting to move forward. At the first meeting the board had decided to invest the capital monies in the super output area covering Beechtrees and surrounding roads.
This meeting first agreed to co-opt Joanne Harrison on as a community representative to fill the place that was left open in Moorside after the ballot.
There was also discussion about the idea of a newsletter – a very good idea that came from the LAD group (Listen, Act, Do) who had been doing the initial consultation about how the money should be spent. While there was some discussion around the costs and what the precise details of the proposal, it was generally agreed to be a good idea and that information has to get back to the community about how the money is being spent.
It’s fair to say that there are some concerns over spending a lot of the money on CCTV. There are some areas that would benefit from CCTV, such as by Digmoor Parade, along the main pathway and by the park (if it helps bring in some other funding too). However, I’m getting feedback that people are concerned about it being close to houses and also concern that there is a desire by some to just spend the money on cameras and not on the broader aims identified in the consultation.
In terms of the money… there is a lot of pressure on the board to spend the first year’s capital investment quickly, particularly since we are told that it cannot roll into next year (i.e. it has to be spent by April 2007). I have my concerns about the pressure to spend money – it makes it difficult to spend the money wisely. There were months of consultation and then the local LSP (Local Strategic Partnership) decided that there should be an election for community representatives. That took out six months of the year, so we’re only just getting round to the spending now.
The board agreed that a “blueprint” or development framework for the Beechtrees area should be put together to guide how the money is spent.
Finally, it was decided that the project should be called the “Community Development Board”.
I’ll update this blog regularly with updates as the project moves forward. Next update should be about next week’s presentation from John McCall Architects with some ideas about what can be done with the money.